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These margins of uncertainty...should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger." Finding out the degree to which condoms protect against HIV is important both for HIV-negative people who want to protect themselves against HIV, and HIV-positive people who want to avoid transmitting it.Knowing how well they protect against other STIs is important for sexual health in general and may be particularly important for people with HIV, who may be more vulnerable to the effects of certain STIs.

Women were much less likely to report inconsistent use of condoms than never using them: over the course of the study, 46% of women said they used condoms ‘always’, 48% ’never’ and only 6% ’sometimes’.For the reasons described above, there is a convention to use two different words when describing the effect of prevention interventions.Moral questions about condom use are not within the remit of this resource, but questions of fact are, and condoms’ ability to stop HIV is periodically questioned by people opposed to their use on religious or moral grounds.Therefore questions of condom efficacy have to be addressed and misapprehensions corrected.The main findings of studies we look at in more detail below are as follows: These degrees of protection may be lower than some readers expect, and rates of 98% reliability are still sometimes quoted for condoms.

These are based upon observations of their use in contraception: studies have shown that 98% of women relying on condoms as their sole form of contraception remain pregnancy free if condoms are used perfectly, meaning that they are used consistently and correctly at every act of sexual intercourse.Another is that the HIV-positive partner will be chronically infected and so will not have the very high viral load characteristic of acute HIV infection.Thirdly, in long-term serodiscordant relationships, studies have shown that the HIV-negative partner can acquire a degree of immunity to their partner’s HIV.In these circumstances, it is easy to see why condoms sometimes fail, even in consistent users.In addition, however, people are not consistent in their use of condoms, and may not even be consistent when they claim to be, or think they are.Research early on in the epidemic showed that 40 to 70% of men who claimed they use condoms 100% of the time in fact did not use them for every act of intercourse.